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Article
May 13, 1988

The Physical and Psychological Sequelae of TortureSymptomatology and Diagnosis

Author Affiliations

From the Infectious Disease Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Harvard University (Dr Goldfeld); Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Indochinese Psychiatry Clinic, St Elizabeth's Hospital (Dr Mollica); Boston Health Professionals Group, Amnesty International USA (Ms Pesavento); Psychiatry Service, Brockton—West Roxbury Veterans Administration Hospital, and Section of Psychiatric Epidemiology and Genetics, Massachusetts Mental Health Center (Dr Faraone), Boston.

From the Infectious Disease Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Harvard University (Dr Goldfeld); Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Indochinese Psychiatry Clinic, St Elizabeth's Hospital (Dr Mollica); Boston Health Professionals Group, Amnesty International USA (Ms Pesavento); Psychiatry Service, Brockton—West Roxbury Veterans Administration Hospital, and Section of Psychiatric Epidemiology and Genetics, Massachusetts Mental Health Center (Dr Faraone), Boston.

JAMA. 1988;259(18):2725-2729. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03720180051032
Abstract

We present a review of the international literature on the medical and psychological effects of torture. Our review reveals that certain tortures and their physical and emotional sequelae are more prevalent than previously appreciated. They include the common occurrence of sexual violence during the torture of women and female adolescents and the high frequency of head injury and associated neuropsychiatric consequences. We recommend the use of standardized diagnostic criteria in the evaluation of patients who have survived torture; this will facilitate patient care and the documentation of human rights violations.

(JAMA 1988;259:2725-2729)

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